Duchess of Cornwall visits new Cornwall Air Ambulance base
7:50am Saturday 7th July 2012 in News
The Duchess of Cornwall has made a flying visit to Cornwall Air Ambulance's new base.
The Duchess, who is patron of Cornwall Air Ambulance unveiled a plaque to officially open the charity’s headquarters at Newquay Cornwall Airport.
Her Royal Highness paid tribute to dedicated air ambulance charities across the country.
The Duchess said: “I don’t know what this community and others would do in Britain without the air ambulance.
“I want to say thank you to everybody for the service they provide and the lives they say.”
The Duchess spent an hour at the building on Wednesday morning, meeting paramedics, fundraising staff, trustees and volunteers.
She was introduced to two patients, Catherine Gardener, aged 35 from Buckinghamshire, and Harriet Eastwood, aged 13, from Grampound Road, who were both airlifted from Cornish beaches.
Harriet presented the Duchess with a posy of flowers, including a rose named after the Duchess of Cornwall, and a Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust teddy bear.
Her Royal Highness even had chance to sit in the iconic red air ambulance helicopter, where she was shown around by lead aircrew paramedic Steve Garvey.
She then toured the operations room where 999 calls come in. Duty paramedics Mark Fuszard and Mick Mclachlin explained how they respond to a call and task the helicopter for an emergency.
Paramedics also demonstrated a new piece of a equipment, a laryngoscope, which has been purchased thanks to the fundraising efforts of Newquay Towan Blystra Lions Club. Cornwall is the first air ambulance to own this piece of equipment, which uses a camera to assess a patient’s airways internally.
On departing, the Duchess signed a limited edition print of the aircraft, which will hang in the charity HQ’s foyer alongside the plaque to mark the official opening.
Paula Martin, chief executive of Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust, said: “We are incredibly lucky to have had a full hour with the Duchess where she could personally meet and talk to so many people.
“She said a few words of congratulations in opening the building, and was very engaged and interested in what everyone had to say.
“We’ve been looking forward to welcoming the Duchess to our headquarters for a long time and has been a fantastic finale to many months of hard work in making this building become a reality.”
Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust’s HQ is the first in the UK to house both charity fundraising and helicopter operations teams in the same building.
It was part funded from £1 million of ERDF Convergence investment, and represents the first development under the Newquay Enterprise Zone.